Life After A $500k Amazon FBA Exit w/ Andri Sadlak – #17

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The Brand Builder Show
Life After A $500k Amazon FBA Exit w/ Andri Sadlak – #17
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Well hey hey! In today’s episode of the Brand Builder Show we’re joined by Andri Sadlak. Andri launched, scaled, and sold his Amazon FBA brand for $500,000 in the last couple of years. He’s now launching a new brand alongside his service for sellers – ProductPinion.

Key Topics:

  • How Andri overcame major challenges to grow and sell his brand
  • Why target market feedback is essential for any serious brand owner
  • Why Andri is going all in again on another new brand on Amazon

Connect with Andri:

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Useful Resources:

If you got this far, there’s a chance you enjoyed the episode… if so, please consider leaving a review – we really appreciate it!

Ben Donovan  0:00  
Hey brand builders and aspiring brand builders! We have got a treat for you today. On this week’s episode of The Brand Builder Show. I’m joined by Andri. Andri is someone who has launched, built, and sold an Amazon brand in the last couple of years. He built it and sold it for $500,000. And he talks all about the details of that in today’s episode, and how he has taken that experience, to then roll it into launching a bigger brand, got proof of concept understands that he now has the skill sets to be able to go on and do something much bigger. We talked about what that is and how he’s got there and his interesting journey in this episode today. So I know you’re gonna love this episode. It was recorded live inside of our FBA Freedom Challenge, where we invited a whole bunch of guests, successful sellers, etc, to come in and share their wisdom to all of the 600 people that joined that challenge. And so I wanted to make sure that this got out beyond that. Andri has some great thoughts and new, you would find it helpful on this podcast, too. So check it out. And if you like it, then let me know. Alright, let’s get into it. 

I’m here with Andri. Andri, great to have you with us today.

Andri Sadlak  1:08  
Thank you, thanks for having me. It’s my pleasure.

Ben Donovan  1:11  
Yeah I know! I’m really excited about this interview! We were just kind of chatting them and I’d said I’d kind of seen you through some other content and kind of seen a bit of your story, but I don’t know loads about it. So it’s gonna be interesting for me, I went to start asking you some questions about you know, your story. And I thought, the biggest thing I’ve got to learn as a relatively new podcast host is stop asking all the good stuff before we hit record. So I try to not ask too much. And then, and then when you’re when when we’re recording, we’re asking all the juicy stuff. So yeah, we’re gonna get into this. We’re recording this. So it’s live inside the challenge. But you know, so if you guys are watching on what to ask questions, please do put those in the comments and we’ll put some of those to Andri. We’ve got people from all over the world. So for some, it’s the middle of the day, some of the middle of the night, but hopefully, there’s a bunch of you can come on live and just let us know any thoughts or questions you have. And we’ll put them to to Andri. But yeah, without further ado, Andri, take it away. Let’s let’s hear a bit about you. Firstly, give us a bit of background on who you are, where you’re from, where you’re living, all that kind of good stuff.

Andri Sadlak  2:14  
Absolutely. My name is Andri Sadlak. Originally from Ukraine, but I live in Vancouver, Canada. Been traveling the world a little bit while I was building a business. So I’ve been to a few places currently focused on building my new brand. Because I sold one of my brand like my first brand, I sold it in late 2020. Building a new one. Also, I have an econ Brand Builder mastermind that I co host. So this little community for advanced sellers. And I’m also building a software if you’re watching the video, see the name of it, its ProductPinion. Basically an insanely valuable serving tool, something that helps Amazon sellers with converting on Amazon.

Ben Donovan  2:56  
Awesome, man. So good, so good. I’ve actually been to the Ukraine. Actually, I’ve been to Kiev, and I enjoyed it. It’s great. I went on one of those trains that takes you across the country and takes about like 16 hours or something. It was a wild experience.

Andri Sadlak  3:09  
Crazy. Yeah, all those trains again, go to sleep, and wake up in a new city which is on the other side of the country.

Ben Donovan  3:16  
Wake up at some random station and there’s a babushka trying to sell you stuff through the window. It’s absolutely wild. It’s good man. What sort of took you to Canada from Ukraine?

Andri Sadlak  3:25  
Following my dreams, I always wanted to be in a business-friendly environment. Well, it’s business-friendly in Ukraine, too, nowadays. But back in the day, I felt like America is the way to go. But I figured out Canada is easier to emigrate. People seem to be nice and friendly. I like the nature and I love outdoorsy stuff. So I was like, “Yeah, let’s give it a try.” Worst case scenario five years later have that citizenship, and I’ll go somewhere else.

Ben Donovan  3:51  
Yeah, there is so much good stuff about Canada. I was saying before, it’s somewhere that I really want to visit. So yeah, that’s good, man. It’s pretty good. 

Andri Sadlak  3:58  
Beautiful country. 

Ben Donovan  3:59  
Yeah, no, that’s all I ever hear. You know, I only ever hear about how beautiful it is. So that’s good. It’s good. So give us a bit of backstory then about selling on Amazon. How did you come to find out about selling on Amazon? When did you start? What was that period of your life like?

Andri Sadlak  4:14  
That time I was working, my corporate job was real estate development. Regular nine to five job, a lot of work. I quickly figured out I’m not going to be a partner in any capacity. I’m not going to impact my income in any capacity. And so I started looking for alternative ways to build a freedom lifestyle that I wanted. And most of us don’t have comes to mind as we have to have an online business. So I started talking to people I knew who were somehow in the online business space. And they recommended me to talk to someone who was already selling on Amazon. So jump on a zoom call, just like we have right now. And I asked him a few questions. His name is Leo. He was like, “Yeah, I’ve been selling for the last seven, eight months or so.” Like across ten k a month in sales. It’s all real. This is what I sell, this is how I do this, this is how I research. And I was like, finally someone that I see actually doing this, told me that it’s possible. So at that point, I had a little bit of switch in my mind that made me believe that I can do that, too. So I start researching, asking questions, I’ll tell like, once a week, once every couple of weeks on a call with a list of questions to him, in the meantime, and research everything to Facebook groups, in YouTube, and long story short, from twenty sixteen-ish, end of twenty sixteen to end of twenty seventeen. That’s how long it took me to research, find suppliers, pick one and send products to the stock. So I launched in December 2017. And, yeah, for us to hit this history.

Ben Donovan  5:46  
Yeah, that’s awesome. And how did that first product launch go?

Andri Sadlak  5:50  
It went okay, because it was a giftable product, scratch off maps, if you know what it is, if you’re watching the video, see one of them in the background. So … have been Yeah, that’s one of my other best seller, but I kind of liked it. They were good for Christmas time. Right? So Q4 was big. And I happen to launch in December, early December. So there was a lot of organic traffic, people looking for a good product. And my I don’t know if it’s a problem, sometimes it is a problem that when I launch something it’s the best, like I made sure it’s really nice. And compared to all the Chinese competition I had, it was standing out big time. So we went okay. It was it was somehow surreal. Like I remember seeing, I think it was December like twenty years or something. I was sitting in a boardroom still working in the office and having some kind of meeting. And I checked my app quickly. And I was like, oh, that’s crazy. 10am Pacific, and I already crossed a thousand dollars in sales as been like maybe two, three weeks of selling. I have no idea what’s going on. At that point, I was like, “there’s something I need to do to … scale this like, yeah, it’s working. Even though I don’t know much. It’s working.” So I need to learn more, you know?

Ben Donovan  7:04  
Yeah. Wow. I was gonna ask you about that. Because it’s, you know, I remember doing it because I started selling when I was in 2017, as well. I remember doing product research. And it was one of the, you know, products that would come up all the time. And so you would have had a boatload of competition like how did you? How did you deal with it? Because it was the main product, or was it the only product line that you did? It was very focused on those products?

Andri Sadlak  7:27  
Well, eventually, when I sold the business, I had two product lines. But I started with scratch-off maps, but I did add both the hanger frames later on. So wood sticks that would hold the bolster. But yeah, it was the main product for a while first year, year and a half year and a half, probably close to two years. It was the … best selling product for me. It was one single scratch of metal in the world.

Ben Donovan  7:50  
Yeah. Nice. Nice. And how did you sort of deal with the quick growth? Did it? Did you stuck out? Did you have to kind of get some financing on board? What was that kind of period like?

Andri Sadlak  8:01  
Oh, yeah, had it all like that? Yeah, I’ve been out of stock I had first half of the year actually was quite a rollercoaster. I think it was May, or so maybe June of twenty eighteen. Now I start seeing one, two star reviews coming in people saying that they can’t scratch off my scratch off map. And a lot of emails saying the same thing. I was like that’s weird. Like this manufacturer was amazing. I actually made it in Ukraine, because I wasn’t happy with the quality in China. Also, the other reason was I could design it compliant with the United Nations map regulations, while Chinese make you design it in a way China sees the world. So there was a little bit of political thing, too. So I did make it in Ukraine, I was super happy with the quality and then this comes in. And I started looking into it. I ordered a few to a friend in the US because I live in Canada, it takes forever to get a product so they could test. 

They kind of confirmed to me that there’s an issue. It’s not as easy to scratch anymore. And at some point I was receiving a lot a lot of emails and a lot of one, two star reviews which was like downhill journey. And I quickly stopped listings. I recall the little inventory I had, still Amazon warehouses, send it all to a warehouse in New York, for my freight forwarder to test everything was above five column units in total. So that whole order was five column units and it was everything was only one program selling. So there was a lot of stress. At the same time, my employer tells me that they need to restructure the company, they don’t need me anymore. I was like, “Okay, that’s interesting.” Now let’s see what’s going to happen. So in total Amazon was like the business. I was looking at about thirty-five thousand dollars US in losses, not counting lost opportunity of being out-of-stock, not selling at all. And I was like, “Ok, I need to do something. I don’t want to go back to work. I could probably find another similar job.” But the whole goal of this business was to get that freedom, right? Two weeks vacation, which is common in Canada, was not acceptable for me being from Europe.

Ben Donovan  10:14  
I know, it’s crazy. I can’t believe it.

Andri Sadlak  10:17  
Yeah, it was, it was like, not okay for me, right. So I was like, “Okay, let’s see what else I can do?” What in hell? And I quickly realized that the only thing left was my townhome. So I used to have the place I lived townhome in Kelowna, BC, but very small place, but the market was already growing fairly fast. So I really appreciate it. I’m like, “Okay, if I sell it now, I’ll probably be able to recover the business.” And that’s what I chose to do. So I sold it without realtors, just basically sold it on Facebook. And most of it went into the business, gradually. So first, I repaid my loans that I had, for the business that I started paying for new inventory. And that like long story short, I improved my quality inspection process, which is a big lesson and big improvement to the business. And in December, I was back in stock. In December already crossed fifty k in sales in a month. And I was no more in Canada, I left because it’s expensive to live there. Especially if you’re jobless and homeless, right. So I was like, why would I rent something and commit to a year if I can live for less in like in Bali, for example? Yeah, so I went to Bali, we traveled to a few countries in Southeast Asia than later Mexico, United States. So live that digital nomad lifestyle for a while while I was currently in business. Yeah, that was a fun time.

Ben Donovan  11:44  
The five thousand units, what did you end up doing with them?

Andri Sadlak  11:48  
We send it to garbage.

Ben Donovan  11:50  
Serious. Wow. I think maybe like he might have sold on eBay or something. But wow.

Andri Sadlak  11:55  
I tried that for a little bit. But didn’t feel right. Yeah, even though I was selling it for like 10 bucks on eBay, and it was 30 bucks on Amazon, the chance that someone would get one of the maps and they couldn’t scratch, didn’t feel right, because there’s still my brand on it. And I took pride in designing the best possible scratch-off map in the world.

Ben Donovan  12:15  
Wow. That’s crazy, man. It’s, you know, it’s not uncommon. You know, you hear people’s stories of success, and you hear, everyone else will say, “Oh, you sold your business that’s so exciting and amazing.” But then there’s all of these challenges that you face along the way. And that would have been pretty significant, right? And you and the levels of commitment to sell your property to go into, you know, put into the business and keep it going. That’s, that’s entrepreneurship, that’s the, you know, your commitment. And I love that. And so what, um, for doing that, but there must have been points where you felt like giving up, surely.

Andri Sadlak  12:48  
For a little bit. Like for me, maybe I think differently, because I’m an immigrant. But if I lose everything, where I started, right, so there’s no, there’s probably less fear of losing everything. And the same time, my desire to be free from having a boss and being limited to one location, showing up in an office or something like that, was so big that I was like, “Okay, I’ll figure this out, no matter what takes, I’ll do this somehow.” And I talk to a lot of people, share my story, ask for advice. And that’s what entrepreneurship also teaches you being humble and accepting lessons that come your way, not only from teachers, mentors, but also from the situations you get yourself into.

Ben Donovan  13:36  
For sure, for sure. Do you think it’s like an Eastern European trait as well, that kind of that grit and determination?

Andri Sadlak  13:43  
Possibly, yeah, maybe? Hard to say because I think…

Ben Donovan  13:48  
I’m from the UK and I think there’s so many people in the UK that just take every opportunity to be negative, and, you know, see the worst in every circumstance and so I just, yes, interesting to see if it’s, you know …

Andri Sadlak  14:00  
I think it’s more of a choice, I wouldn’t contribute it to one nation or part of the world. It’s more of a mindset thing. And that’s something that I’ve been working on a lot. And that’s probably the only thing I focus on every day that’s consistent, making sure that I see politics, making sure that I understand my path, my goals, and have clarity around what I need to do every day. Right? So that mindset is the thing that makes all the difference and it’s common for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs usually have very positive outlook on the future.

Ben Donovan  14:33  
For sure. Yeah, I agree. Like I’m sometimes I call myself like an eternal optimist, but I think that is the the nature of an entrepreneur you know, you believe the best and you look for the best in every situation. What are you doing to work on your mindset? What kind of things are you reading or what’s the strategy?

Andri Sadlak  14:52  
Yeah reading, for sure. I’m not really a big reader. So I usually listen to audiobooks more. Sometimes it would really listen at the same time just absorb it better. But it’s, it’s not as consistent as I think it should be. But I listened to a lot of people that inspire me to do big stuff. And I would learn that way with podcasts, YouTube videos. Like I start my day, but when I’m done …, I don’t wake up too late. I start meditating, which calls my mind. I review my goals. I do some journaling, all of that, like, even like in front of me, there’s a whiteboard where how my goals and what I’m working on, some random notes, all of these clues and reminders. And when I feel down, I also have this recording on my iPhone, with me speaking out loud, what I’m about, what I’m like, what my mission in life and stuff like that. And usually that inspires me, it gets me back on the rails to work on my goals.

Ben Donovan  15:54  
So let’s go to talking about this brand, then, like obviously, you hit the fifty-k sales. What was that? December twenty eighteen? Or twenty nineteen?

Andri Sadlak  16:03  
Yeah, that was December twenty eighteen. I’m in Bali. Fifty-k in sales.

Ben Donovan  16:07  
Nice. Yeah. Good place to do it. Yeah. That’s awesome. So then 2019, what was the the journey through that year?

Andri Sadlak  16:13  
After I’ve spanned those eight or nine months of traveling, I realized they’re not very productive, but I have to relocate all the time. So that’s around the time I started, 2019 is when I started my little mastermind group. So I had a few friends who I knew they were selling on Amazon, too, with similar values, I like them. So I offer them to jump on weekly calls and keep each other accountable with each other’s goals. So that’s how it all started. And from then basically, in twenty nineteen, I still had two SKUs. But in twenty-twenty, when I sold the business, it was fifteen SKUs. So that accountability work like magic, I could see other people crushing it. And I was like, okay, I can do this, too. So focus on scaling by minimizing my life expenses. When we’re having room made, is living in about a thousand bucks allowance, Canadian. But everything I had went into the business. And that’s why it scale so fast. So in twenty twenty, when I was selling a list of the business was called SKUs, queue product lines, lots of variations, different sizes, colors and stuff, because that was the low hanging fruit. And by the time we closed, three more gaming stocks or technical things … .

Ben Donovan  17:33  
That’s awesome. So what point did you start to think like, this is something I want to sell, and that becomes part of your strategy.

Andri Sadlak  17:41  
That was probably around the time I came back from traveling. I was like, traveling is nice, because I can live cost-effectively and have some memorable experiences, meet most amazing people. But I felt like I could do more. I had potential to build something bigger and more impactful. I started losing a little bit of motivation to, like in terms of being committed to the space, right. I was like, “Okay, this is fun, but it’s been worth like almost two years of me playing in this.” Okay, I started getting bored, you know. And I wrote down in my notepad that I’m going to sell my brand to travelization for five hundred thousand. At that point, that felt surreal for me as an immigrant for, like, 50k I can buy a decent condo in the capital of Ukraine, which is the major city. And I was like, if I sell for five hundred thousand, then I’m gonna be rich, you know?

Doesn’t feel that way in Vancouver, one of the least affordable places on planet Earth. You can’t even buy a condo for that much. But all like, yeah, if I sell for that much, it’s going to mean something, it’s going to mean that I can build the business basically. Right? So my … I wrote it down and never forgot about it. I kept working on the business following my goals. And that I started seeing my friends list in their businesses for sale and selling them I was like, Okay, now it’s possible for my friends, maybe I should talk to brokers, which I did that felt even more real. I talked to a few people who sold as well to give me some good ways on how to prepare for the exit. And yeah, it’s kind of happened naturally. The interesting thing is when I sold it, I was like, nice. I see the cash in my account. Now what?

Ben Donovan  19:28  
I think that’s what everyone says, you know, that they sell as, you know, it gets to that point where you’re like, okay, yeah, that’s cool for a few minutes and then it’s okay, what’s the next thing?

Andri Sadlak  19:38  
Yeah, cuz it kind of became my identity found in business and I was always open about it too. So it’s not like … of status. They would never tell you what they sell. I would like my scratch off map is the best in the world, right. So everybody knew me as the maps guy at that time, you know I was like, now what’s going to be my identity? So it took me some time to rest, relax, refresh my mind and realize what I want to do next. But realistically, money wise, 80% of what you make from the Amazon big business is the sale. The exit. 

Ben Donovan  20:13  
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. How did you sell it? Did you go through a broker or privately? How did you do that?

Andri Sadlak  20:20  
Yeah, it was a little bit of a journey to went with one broker, I wasn’t happy at all. The offers were low balling, the system they built was in my mind that it was built for the buyer moreso than for the seller. And then I went with another broker, which I’m happy with. Their system is perfect, super fair. And not only I was getting more and better offers, but it was a super fast process. So if anyone’s thinking of selling, I’m happy to share my experience and give you some hints of advice. And maybe it’s the way to go for you, too.

Ben Donovan  20:54  
Yeah, for sure. You said it was nice and smooth. Do you remember like timelines in terms of from when you had the offer to when the money was in your bank?

Andri Sadlak  21:02  
Yeah, it was. When I listed the business. I think it was like Monday. I already had like six or seven interviews booked in that day, for the next few days. Within a week, I have had a few stem into use. And you also guarantee … when people look at your package. So they study your numbers and stuff and there was at least a hundred people. So that time was the market was hard, but it’s probably asphalt right now the multiple options that. If nothing else changed in my business, and I listed it for sale now I’d get at least twice as much.

Ben Donovan  21:40  
Wow. Yeah, you able to share like, or you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but like multiples and how that works and all that kind of stuff.

Andri Sadlak  21:47  
Oh, for sure. In my case, if you look at the last four months, profits, my multiple was above three point thirty-five x, which is low in today’s numbers today at least for now. Five. 

Ben Donovan  22:02  
Yeah, it was good back then, for sure. Yeah. 

Andri Sadlak  22:05  
Wasn’t bad. Yeah. 

Ben Donovan  22:07  
Do you regret selling it?

Andri Sadlak  22:09  
No, never regret. I regret not having a clear plan, what’s going to happen next. I still didn’t believe that it was going to happen until I saw the money, basically. I don’t regret selling it, because it kind of freed my mind for new projects, for new opportunities. I was able to reassess my life without being in a rush. Because I had that buffer, right? 

Ben Donovan  22:32  
For sure. Yeah, I think you know, not to speak for your decision making or your lifestyle. But it’s the kind of money that’s enough to, like you say, give you a buffer. It’s a nice experience, but it’s not going to, you know, drastically change your life and mean, you never have to do anything again, it’s like, is maybe a good first business sale, right? Because it’s a good chunk of money shows you that you can do it. And you know, there’s proof of concept and gives you some capital, but then it gives you the drive to go on and do something else.

Andri Sadlak  23:00  
Hundred percent. For me it was exactly that the proof of concept. Yeah, at that point, I believe that I can do something similar on a bigger scale. Right. I just didn’t know what yet. But now I think I do.

Ben Donovan  23:10  
Yeah, yeah, you’re gonna do that. Right. That’s, that’s part of your plan is to do something. 

Andri Sadlak  23:14  
Excellent. Yeah. And again, if even if this new business doesn’t work out, what’s fun to realize is now that I have that … behind me, I have more confidence that one of my projects eventually will work out. Yeah. And that’s probably gonna hit home big.

Ben Donovan  23:34  
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And so one of the things as well as is a software ProductPinion. Talk to us a bit about that. When did that start?

Andri Sadlak  23:42  
Absolutely. Look, ProductPinion is my passion project right now. And I have very high hopes for it. The software is, what I call it properly, it’s like an insanely powerful tool for increasing your conversion if you use it right, because it’s all based on Amazfon customer feedback. And just to explain how I got into it, I believe the success of the brand I had, the brand that I sold, was in need built in and the community of Amazon have Facebook group, I had an email list that I was always growing. And these people were my lifeblood of the business. I would ask them everything I need to know to make any marketing decision or to design a product. I would ask what they prefer, A or B, they would vote, they would help me make all those decisions and surprise, surprise when they do what they asked, they’re happy, they buy it, you make money, right? 

Same thing here with ProductPinion, I found myself in a position with a new brand that I’m building off not having that community, not being able to ask anyone who actually cares. I could ask my relatives and friends but it’s not useful really. And they also love you too much to be honest. So with ProductPinion you can go to this random audience you can select, your specific demographic too that are trying to serve … , if you were searching for this and this, what would you buy? For example, right? That’s one of our standard campaigns. And the nice feature we have is people would screen-record their screen and speak out loud what they think and answer questions. And after a few of those videos, start seeing commonalities. And those commonalities can lead into you doing the second thing that we have, the AV testing, so you would have that idea that they voiced, split test that and see which version of it people prefer. 

Obviously, if you do that well enough, systemically enough, you’ll first of all, minimize guesswork, you’re not going to teach something to Amazon lesson and then drop in sales and dropping ranking. Most likely, like it’s humans looking into listing on Amazon to the exact same Amazon customers, right? Most likely, they’ll just buy it more often. And if you improve it all the time, trust me, none of your competition will be doing that. Like if you only make, if you do this math, if you only make one point four improvement in one metric, so one point four percent improvement in one metric, let’s say its main image and you try to improve conversion. Let’s say it’s one point four percent improvement every week you do something to improve it. Whether it’s title, whether it’s coupons, price, something the reviews, whatever people see before they click right? One point four percent improvement a week, doubles your metric in a year. So if your conversion is fifteen percent right now, you can easily double it in a year, as long as you stay committed to that constant process of improving that metric. So that’s what the tool is for.

Ben Donovan  26:34  
Very good, very good. And use case for a new seller that’s maybe researching a product, other things you can do there in terms of how you can differentiate and things like that.

Andri Sadlak  26:44  
Absolutely. I’m a new seller now, right? I’m launching a new product. That’s what I’ve been doing. Like, first thing I did was ask among customers, which product my category they would buy. So I gave them a link to search results. They click on it, and then they think out loud, they tell you, “Okay, this one looks interesting.” “This design is weird.” “I would never click on this.” “Okay, this is probably the best deal we see based on the reviews and price.” “And the image is very appealing.” “Let me click on the quick light, oh, I like this.” “I don’t know ecofriendly.” “I like that they talked about this and that.” “And, oh, this is important for me.” “This is my top priority right now.” 

And they look at a few. And I started realizing that watching these videos of people from the outside, telling me what matters to them, gave me a very clear idea of what I need to do so that people buy mine versus the existing competition. So that’s the first step I’ve done. Then second was, I send them to the best-selling competitors and ask them, “what would they need to know to recommend this to your friend?” Again, to clarify what matters to them, right? So that gave me good ideas, too. And that led me to creating different packaging, different messaging, different ingredients, because it’s a food product. So basically, making sure the problems they have in mind for this product leading solution are solved better. And then once I have listing didn’t do that, because I want to always be on top of things. Because my competition will never be that consistent, right?

Ben Donovan  28:17  
Did you you say this new product that you’re looking at is a food product?

Andri Sadlak  28:21  
It is. Food slash supplements gonna be good for your health. It is very different. Way more expensive to launch, way more risky, in my opinion. But I believe in the space so much that I’m willing to give it a try.

Ben Donovan  28:35  
Yeah, for sure. For sure. And so you’re gonna sort of like source locally and all that kind of …

Andri Sadlak  28:41  
Yeah. Actually flying to New York to meet the manufacturer for the first time, next week. Hopefully it goes well.

Ben Donovan  28:49  
Yeah. Yeah. Are you nervous about the compliance aspects and that kind of thing?

Andri Sadlak  28:56  
Yeah, most of it is taken care of by the manufacturer. But there’s still tricky things that you need to take care of. It’s yeah, it’s not as straightforward as sourcing a home decor item from China.

Ben Donovan  29:09  
Yeah. And you’re going to be selling it on Amazon.

Andri Sadlak  29:12  
Yeah, I want to start with Amazon. But long term goal is to own my own audience again. I love being able to talk to my customers. And Amazon doesn’t really allow me to do that. That’s why I love ProductPinion. And that’s why I want to build my own email list and have my Shopify store. Still new space for me, but my wife works in that space. She’s doing e commerce email marketing for five years now. So she should be able to help me with that.

Ben Donovan  29:36  
I’ll bet Yes. That’s a great, great partnership.

Andri Sadlak  29:40  
Yeah, fingers crossed.

Ben Donovan  29:42  
That’s good. So in terms of you know, you are now again, as you said, a new seller again, and you’re kind of diving into this whole opportunity. You know, going through it once and coming out the other side hasn’t put you off, right, you’re going back into it. And so for new sellers that are coming into this, what would you say to them is the big opportunity? How are you viewing this new project this next three, five, ten years, what is the big opportunity for you and for other new sellers right now?

Andri Sadlak  30:12  
Some people say it’s NFT’s. Most of all in that space, I can’t comment, expect to learn, but it’s still something new for me. But I, overall, I think the, the mindset of how you treat your brand is going to determine your success. If you always focus on your customer, and you find ways to do better than the solutions out there that they already have access to. If you solve their problems better, and you communicate it better, and you take better care of them, you provide really good customer journey, which starts when they buy the product, doesn’t end there. If you think of it that way, if you think of it as a real brand, not just jumping on Amazon’s bandwagon, it’ll go well. Ideally, you want to care about what you sell, you want to understand your customers, maybe you’re the ideal customer, if … to that makes it easier, but it’s not necessary. It’s that care. If you can out care your competition, you’ll do well.

Ben Donovan  31:11  
Yeah, nice. Yeah. And do you think, you know, the exit side of it is still a big thing? In your mind? Are you thinking with this new brand? I’m going to sell it in X amount of years to X amount of money? Are you not thinking that specifically?

Andri Sadlak  31:25  
But this new one, I’m not thinking that way. Because then the goal I had when I sold it was to start something, it’s gonna be huge. It’s gonna be like my legacy, something I’ve changed the world with, right? So I don’t have any timelines there, I probably will sell it at some point to retire. I don’t know, what that’d look like is going to happen. It’s not going to be anytime soon. I don’t think especially because I think I go into a very competitive space, which means it’s not going to be profitable very soon, and I’m okay with that. I want to, like anything big, requires a lot of sacrifice. Yeah, I don’t think it’s gonna happen in next two, three years. But imagine…

Ben Donovan  32:06  
Are you do if you’re going into something like that that’s big, it’s got to be a risk? Are you doing anything to protect yourself? Like in terms of your, you know, when you sold that brand, if you kind of like just put a bunch of that away? Are you just literally going yoloing it all into this just going hard at this new brand?

Andri Sadlak  32:23  
No, I don’t go and make because I’m 31 now and I start thinking about family. But yeah, I do have other investments. I invest a little bit in stocks and crypto. I bought the house I live in with two rental suites that should work as a business. So I do try to diversify a little bit. But tension wise, it all goes to ProductPinion, the new brand, my mastermind, and it’s do that it’s all connected. Otherwise, it will be I would go crazy. Otherwise, I would recommend anyone to do any more than one thing at a time.

Ben Donovan  32:59  
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Now, that’s really good, really insightful. And I love that the fact that you’ve been on this journey, and then again, to start this journey again. I think that’s really, you know, a confidence giver for everyone that’s listening that maybe hasn’t started yet is wondering how they can get started to hear that you are. You’ve done it once. And now you think right, it was good last time. So I’m gonna do it again. I think that is really, really good. We’ve got, you know, people watching the same, this is really helpful stuff. Paul was asking a question, did you start your community before your initial product launch?

Andri Sadlak  33:32  
Yes. And it was kind of unique. Because I always loved traveling, I consider myself a global citizen. So I started just for fun, basically. By the time I had the product ready, and in stock, I had a little less than 1000 people in that Facebook group. But most of them I knew, and obviously, none of them were my customers yet. But it’s still a good place to share my journey with right and it did give me confidence because even the initial decision, the map that I launched the first one, I wasn’t sure whether I should go with the white one with the black one. The black background should be white or black, like the one you see behind me if you’re watching the video, that’s white. I like it better. I’ll almost launch the white one. But I was like, I’m doing this for other people, it’s not for me. Let me ask them, so ask the group and they voted and most of them were like so close to 70% said, Oh, no, the black background one looks so much better. So okay, I’ll trust your opinion there and I launched it. I launched the black one, thank God!

Ben Donovan  34:33  
Such a hack for like getting real good feedback. Like we have a toy brand and I’ve been saying to my business partner for a while we need to start a Facebook group, you know, designs to that aimed at mums because 70% of our customers are female, you know, mostly moms. And, you know, we need to create a Facebook group and just attract as many of those as possible and, you know, thankfully, we’ve got kids so my wife is involved in the business and my business partner is a mom and so I’m just like, you guys create this community of mums and give us feedback on what kind of toys they want we kind of develop because it’s such a great resource, right? Similar to, obviously, you know, and that’s where you’re really honing in with that software now. So it’s such a massive, massive part of the process.

Andri Sadlak  35:14  
You can’t just come up with something. I don’t believe in genius. I don’t think someone can just come up with something genius. You need to listen to your customer. Like, there’s a term called social listening, right? Some people do it as a service, they would scan the whole internet, all the social medias, to collect real feedback, right? You can do the same with the tool I built. You can do the same yourself, it’s just longer and harder. And just to be clear, I don’t promote creating Facebook groups for everybody. Like all the brands, and that’s the way to go. It may be or may not be it depends on the brand on the space. 

And also, Facebook seems to be changing their algorithms, they see less and less organic reach, than I post to groups. So maybe the way to go would be for some people partnered with existing audiences to partner with someone who has big outreach, or trying different things and seeing what sticks maybe TikTok, maybe it’s creating a Discord channel. Maybe it’s something else. Like there’s so many ways to build a community, I just think you should think of it, if you think long term. If there’s one final product that sells and there’s not enough competition, temporarily, it’s going to work out. But I believe only they’re too old school brand building and care for the customer will get you to very high highs and will let you sell the business a lot.

Ben Donovan  36:36  
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yes. A lot of work a Facebook group. So if ready made, even ready made service like yours, you know, it’s gonna save you a lot of time.

Andri Sadlak  36:46  
Yeah, they still work even using like this service, they’re probably go to Fiverr and be like, hey, people give me feedback. Right? And they would, but it’s just a lot more to manage that way. Right? And probably not even as cost-effective.

Ben Donovan  37:00  
Yeah, for sure. For sure. Another question, what components besides the Facebook group were part of the community? Did you add anything else on that built the community around the product?

Andri Sadlak  37:10  
No, it was basically around the idea of traveling being good for your personal growth and the idea of global citizenship. So loving each other, no matter where we come from, and be acceptable as our accepting and people like that, I think, and I will share a lot of useful stuff that I find elsewhere with the community. So if I find a good place to find deals on flight tickets, I’d share it. If I find good travel card, carnival shirt, if I don’t find fascinating story about some unique places on this planet I’ve shared and people like that, that were like, Oh, these satellite channels good news.

Ben Donovan  37:47  
Now, that’s good. That’s good. Another question when you became aware of the product quality issues, how did the brand recover from the low star reviews? Yeah, that’s good question. Actually, if you’ve got lots of one or two star reviews, what did you do to mitigate that?

Andri Sadlak  37:58  
A couple of things: first, back in the day, and I don’t think it’s possible anymore. So that was 2018. So take it with a grain of salt. Back in the day, a friend of mine recommended me this black hat tactic of finding emails of people who leave reviews, I don’t think it’s possible anymore. And I probably wouldn’t have done it if it was because it’s risky. So try that and probably half of the people responded. And probably 1/3 of them agreed to get a free product when I was back in stock and updated review. I never forced anyone but I was like would you mind editing it or something like that? So that helps a little bit. But again, that’s what I did just for full transparency but it’s not something I would recommend. And again, I don’t think it’s possible anymore. You know what what I focused on most of my attention is collecting more five star reviews. The way I approached it was first of all the product was incredibly good, again it’s back to normal quality, quality inspection processes, like three-step process inspector visiting different times, I custom built it just to minimize any risk that had happened in the future so I knew for sure the quality was good.

Ben Donovan  39:11  
It must have been hard the inspection process because theoretically to properly test it they’d have to ruin the product right scratch it off.

Andri Sadlak  39:17  
Yes. Yeah. So a lot of in product and that’s part of the reason I was the most expensive in space too because it was the best quality and I could stand behind it. But what I also did I added an insert at that point insert was I think it was promised in a freebie essay what it is: QR Code, website, and people would use it to get into my many chat flow like a messenger flow. In the flow first I would like to send my picture be like, “Hey, my name is Andri. I’m the founder thank you for choosing Travelization. Which product did you buy?” They were brought to a click on a button which one they bought, they do bought and based on that the flow may change a little bit but long story short, it was like a digital product of an ebook with twenty-one epic hikes in the United States. Because I knew my people like traveling, they probably like traveling their home country too. 

So I did create an insanely good quality product that way, and people were happy with it. And I was like, oh, second, freebie. I know, we didn’t expect it. But we can join this travel community for cost-effective traveling, travel advice, and to be surrounded by like-minded individuals. A lot of people join as well and then third thing like probably a day later was, how’s the experience with Travelization, so far? And I gave him options to vote in star ratings, basically. 

So everyone who clicked on five stars would get, like a missive saying, “This means the world to me! Would you please copy or submit your response to Amazon?” No links, nothing, just purely asking. So it worked fairly well. It was, in my opinion, very safe overall. Anyone who voted less than four stars would, I would see that and I would respond and be like, “Can you tell me more, what’s wrong? What can I improve?” And I think even those conversations sometimes turned into five star reviews just because of attention. People don’t expect that level of attention and care from an Amazon brand. But I never treated it as an Amazon business. I always thought of it like a standalone brand that has a mission that cares for the customer wants to serve them. So I did my best to do that. 

Ben Donovan  41:30  
Yeah, for sure. That’s really good news.

Andri Sadlak  41:34  
When you have that issue, focus on getting more five star reviews, and it will combat the one to start with you had.

Ben Donovan  41:41  
Yeah, I always say this, say the same, you know, the amount of energy that you put into trying to stress about one star, you’d be better off trying to get away more five star so. But it’s a really good tip for anybody listening. You know, we recently changed. So we on our Insert, we did like a go to this page to get into a prize drawer for fifty pound or fifty dollars like store credit type thing. It performed terribly. And so we changed it about six months ago to the same thing as what you’re saying they’re like a free gift, many chat funnel. And our opt in rates have gone through the roof in comparison. And it gives you so much more flexibility to then like you said, follow up with, you know other things communities, social media, feedback, there’s so much flexibility with it. And if you don’t say what the free product is, you can test different products and …

Andri Sadlak  42:33  
and other advice on that if you’re thinking of improving the insert. What did make a big difference for me is stating at the bottom, well, it only seven days after the purchase. There’s no way I can check right, but I think people generally believe something is printed black or white. So they jumped on it right away as soon as they see it. “Oh, it’s only seven days, let me try.” No. Yeah. Otherwise they just put it aside. I’ll look at it later. They never do.

Ben Donovan  42:58  
Yeah, that’s good. Good. Yeah. really insightful and helpful today, Andri. I know, it’s recording on a Saturday and it’s your, you know, your weekend. So I don’t want to take like loads of your time. But is there anything that maybe I haven’t asked that you feel would be good to share with the audience or any sort of final tips that you’d want to share with them?

Andri Sadlak  43:17  
We covered a lot. Did the only thing I could add is if you see value in the software, I co created ProductPinion, reach out to me. I’m happy to show you how to use it and improve your conversion on Amazon. Anything else we can help you with if you’re thinking of selling your business, which helped as well happy to support other entrepreneurs. If you’re at least 10k a month in sales, preferably more and you’re focused on scaling your brand and exit in the future, reach out to me, ask about the Mastermind. It’s like accountability group for weekly calls. And anything else we can help you with, I’m always for being in touch with other entrepreneurs because I do believe that the future that I see so bright is because we entrepreneurs change it. We change the world around us. So I want to provide a support as much as I can. Why? Because I get a lot of it as well. So yeah, for sure.

Ben Donovan  44:12  
That’s awesome. I was gonna say you know, final question Where Where can people find out more and stuff? What’s what’s the best place the best avenue for people to get in contact? Is there a website or anything like that?

Andri Sadlak  44:22  
Yeah, there’s if you just type in Andrisadlak dot com, A-N-D-R-I-S-A-D-L-A-K dot com All the links are there and you can choose whatever avenue you want to take to talk to me.

Ben Donovan  44:36  
Awesome! Well we really appreciate your time and I know a bunch of people will be going and checking it out and just you know really wish you the best with every, all of these projects that you brand, can’t wait to see what that is the software, the Mastermind, all sounds like great stuff and you’ve dropped some, you know, incredible value today, so well yeah, we really, really appreciate you coming on.

Andri Sadlak  44:56  
My pleasure, man. Thanks for having me.

Ben Donovan  44:57  
Hey, wasn’t it an awesome story with Andrew? He is another down to earth builder of brands and what he’s doing with ProductPinion obviously is more great stuff there if you do want to connect with Andrew make sure you do take him up on the offer or the details for getting in touch with him or down in the link below as well as a link to check out ProductPinion, his new tool that’s gonna help you to make decisions on your Amazon journey for optimizing things for your customer experience. Really great tool! Really great idea and and loved what he talked about in that episode. What he’s doing with that tool and excited to see where it goes. If you’d like this episode, please do hit that thumbs up button. If you’re watching on YouTube or if you are listening on a podcast. When it’s safe to do so you know, pull over on the highway and hit subscribe on your audio podcast player and do leave us a review. If you do remember and have time to leave us a review that would be greatly appreciated. The more reviews we can get, the better helps us to grow the podcast, get great guests on and hopefully serve you on your brand building journey. We’re on a mission to help you build a life changing brand in three years or less. So let’s get after it. And I’ll see you in the next episode. real soon..